Tweed toasts old watering holes
TWEED is known for its lush rainforest surrounds, miles of deserted beaches, tranquil river settings and abundance of artisans dotted throughout the many quaint villages.
But perhaps it's not so well-known for its historic pubs.
But the Tweed Valley in northern New South Wales is home to some of Australia's oldest and quirkiest country pubs.
And to help visitors out, Tweed tourism body Destination Tweed has put together a Tweed historic pub tour.
Self-drive or charter a bus along with a group of friends and make a day of it.
The tour starts out at the Billinudgel pub (locally known as the Billi Pub), which is famous for its long-time licensee, Ma Ring (Margaret Alice Ring), who ran the hotel from 1929 and continued as licensee for almost 54 years. Ma Ring was the oldest hotel licensee in Australia, and possibly the world, when she died at the age of 101.
Read all about her in the old newspaper clippings and memorabilia that lines the pub's walls.
Next stop on the pub tour is in the coastal village of Brunswick Heads, where you'll find the beautiful Hotel Brunswick: a great place to relax in the sun.
This present-day hotel was built in the classic art deco style by Jim Cavill, who eventually moved north to create the famous Surfers Paradise Hotel on the Gold Coast.
According to newspaper reports at the time, no money was spared on the Hotel Brunswick, with “expensive wine carpets” used throughout.
The tour continues along the scenic Tweed Valley Way to Mooball and its Victory Hotel.
The original licensed hotel in this part of the valley was actually located in the neighbouring village of Burringbar.
But after it burnt down in the early 1930s, the owner decided to transfer the licence and rebuild at Mooball.
His decision divided the two villages and the move was reportedly challenged in the local court.
The owner celebrated his win by naming the new Mooball establishment the Victory Hotel.
From Mooball, continue through the valley to Uki to drink in the breathtaking views from the veranda of the Mt Warning Hotel.
If you have the time and energy, detour to the Wollumbin National Park and World Heritage rainforest and take the 4.4km trek to the summit of Mt Warning.
The tour continues on to Tyalgum, where the Tyalgum Hotel is known for its true country hospitality, great meals and live music.
Next, try Murwillumbah's Imperial Hotel.
The original pub on this site was burnt down in the great town fire of 1907, which started in the bakery and raged for 24 hours, destroying 65 buildings. Rebuilt in 1908, the hotel again was razed by fire in 1929.
It comes complete with a resident ghost who is rumoured to haunt the upstairs room.
Last stop on the historic pub tour is the legendary Tumbulgum Tavern. This was the first pub built in the area in 1887. One of the great stories you'll find at Tumbulgum Tavern is the tale of the Tumbulgum groper, caught by Joe Ostram in 1828.
After spotting the massive fish in the river, Joe asked the local blacksmith to make a hook (on display at the pub) which he then baited with the hind of a calf.
He used a 44-gallon drum for a float and a bushel bag of rocks for an anchor. Weighing in at 362kg (800lbs), a 107kg (17-stone) man could sit in its mouth and still have some headroom.